Title: The Housemate
Author: Sarah Bailey
Published: 31st August 2021, Allen & Unwin
Status: Read September 2021 courtesy Allen & Unwin
The Housemate is a standalone crime novel from Australian author Sarah Bailey, best known for her popular series featuring Detective Gemma Woodstock.
When the body of a woman is found on a property in rural Victoria, interest is revived in a decade old mystery. Olive Groves was a junior reporter when the ‘Housemate Homicide’ – where a dispute among three young housemates led to the murder of one and the disappearance of another – occurred, and now rumour suggests that the missing woman has resurfaced. Given her familiarity with the case, Oli is eager to investigate further, but annoyed when her editor insists she works with a young podcaster, Cooper Ng.
In what is a well-conceived and interesting plot, Oli, aided by Cooper, digs into what really happened between the housemates on the night of the murder, and slowly uncovers a cabal whose elite members are willing to kill to keep their secrets. While I found the complex mystery intriguing, I did feel the pace of the first two thirds or so of the novel was quite slow, with much of the tension and action being confined to near the end.
Oli is an intuitive, driven investigative journalist, her methods to unearth the story are sometimes uncomfortable, but I appreciated her determination to uncover the truth. I liked how Bailey explored the tension between old and new media through the relationship between Oli and Cooper.
Oli’s personal life is a bit of a mess though, and becomes more complicated when elements of the Housemate case forces her to face some difficult truths about her relationship, and herself. I wasn’t always sympathetic to her issues, but I thought she was a well-realised, complex character.
With its cleverly plotted, absorbing mystery, The Housemate is compelling crime fiction.
Available from Allen & Unwin RRP AUD$32.99
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3 thoughts on “Review: The Housemate by Sarah Bailey”
Thanks for the review. New author and book for me.